Here at TripLocator, we really pride ourselves on offering adventures that are friendly to the locality you're visiting, and sensitive to the people who live there. We consider it our responsibility to encourage all of our travel partners to ensure that all the holidays they offer are environmentally and culturally sustainable. Our five-star grading system gives you reassurance that the company you're booking with is observing good practices. Higher star ratings on culture and environment are awarded to companies with a greater focus on sustainable practices and culturally friendly traveling.
We're continually expanding and refining our ratings, and as a company we'd love it if you, the traveller, would help us make sure they're accurate. Please send us your thoughts on holidays you've booked through our site, and use our review system to let us know if we're on the right track!
How to travel responsibly
There are also some things you can do as a traveller to make sure your visit does your destination good - in environmental and human terms - rather than disrupting it. Here are a few tips:
- Do a little research into the customs and beliefs of the country you're visiting before you board the plane. Handy basics include dress code, local manners and how to behave at religious sites like churches, temples, mosques or stupas.
- If you can master a few words of the local language ('hello', 'please' and 'thank you' are a good start), that always goes down well and will make your welcome even warmer!
- Always ask before taking photos of local people or their homes: it's respectful, and you'll usually get a good reaction (and maybe even make a new friend!)
- Don't drop litter – and encourage those with you to do the same. Investing in your own water purification tablets can do wonders for limiting plastic bottle waste.
- If you're trekking or camping, make sure you carry non-biodegradable waste away from your campsite or bury it in a waste pit (a long way from any water courses). Always leave your campsite clean and tidy, ready for the next batch of weary campers!
- Consider using biodegradable soap and shampoo: there are lots of brands available nowadays. If you're travelling in remote and dry areas, do your best to limit your water usage.
- Where possible, opt for accommodation that uses sustainable fuel sources like solar power. Avoid lodges and hotels that use wood for fuel (this is especially problematic in remote areas). You can help your lodge save more fuel by “batch-ordering” similar meals with other travellers.
- Buy local! Who wants to shop at a boring chain store anyway? - you'll have the rest of your life to do that back home. Local shops and markets are much more fun and will give you more insight into the place you're staying.
- You'll usually do less long-term good by giving your money to beggars than by giving it to a local charity that caters to the needs of poor and vulnerable groups. That said, not all charities are angels themselves, so choose carefully and then give.